You probably already know this, but our family homeschools. No, we don’t “do school at home.” Like most home educators, we live learning. Our lifestyle is one that flows in and around learning in every shape and form – we’ve been at it so long, I have to stop and look at the calendar to see what week we are in.
In years past, I often dealt with an exceptionally debilitating condition we all like to call “burnout.” You don’t have to be a homeschooler to suffer from this monster, but homeschoolers seem to come down with a special strain of it!
Although I’m certainly NOT going to claim that I’ve arrived anywhere – I am going to tell you, I have given this exhausting disease of the mind and heart the boot. Let me share a little of what I am learning…
Hebrews 12: 1 – 2 says, “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
Read the purple writing again.
This is what I am learning to do: keep my eyes on Jesus.
In my post “witness, not savior,” I talked about how we need to fail at the things in life that God alone has the knowledge, justice, grace, love, and authority to accomplish. I know. Ouch. (If you haven’t read that post, this one will make more sense if you do…)
It comes down to knowing what it is that God actually expects from us. I mean, after all, we are accountable to Him, right? Right. But for what exactly are we accountable?
Does He expect us to: be the perfect parent? give our children an education without holes? make sure our children are ready for the ivy league? make sure our families are pristine and perfect (at least on the outside)?
When I started praying that God would show me what HE wanted from me, the answer was pretty simple: know His voice, lay all of my fear, insecurity, agendas, plans…right at His feet, get and keep my heart right before Him, study and live His Word, accept His love and mercy and extend that love and mercy to those around me – namely my children, let HIM be God to my children…and my husband.
I didn’t say it was easy. I said it was simple. It’s simple because it starts with me (and after all, am I not the only one I can control?).
It’s simple because all of the list above can be simplified into this sentence: “Humble yourself before the Lord…”
In all honesty, God made it crystal clear to me that all of my effort to control my people was coming from a tainted place in my own heart. After all, it sure would be easier on me (and make me look simply amazing!) if everyone would just fall into step and do what they were supposed to do. Chop! Chop! Oh wow. Humble myself.
In this case, humble is being used as a verb. It’s an action word meaning “to lower (yourself) in importance.” Do you remember what Isaiah 43:10 says?
“You are my witnesses and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me, I , I am Yahweh, and there is no other Savior but Me.”
When I lowered myself, something interesting happened. It wasn’t my exhaustable strength or my own drive getting me through the day, it was the almighty, unending, never-failing, grace/joy/patience/love-filled power of the One Who loves us all so much and knows all of our futures…HE was carrying us all through the day. Something unexpected happened! I realized that HE is MY Teacher, as well as my children’s.
When I started studying and applying God’s Word to my own life, when I stopped trying to control everything around me – which, by the way, is the most exhausting, most stressful, most anxiety inducing, most ridiculously futile human tendency we all have – God was able to give me the peace and joy that infused me with strength and kicked burnout out.of.here!
So, if you’re dealing with burnout…or just plain old exhaustion, which is heading fast-track toward burnout…stop and put on your oxygen mask!
Repeat after me: I do not have to be a superhero.
All you have to do is lay the burden down. God didn’t lay it on your shoulders. He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It’s easy because He’s the One leading the way, and it’s light because He’s the One carrying the weight.
You have what it takes. Go to His Word. There is freedom and life there. Fill your canteen. Put on your armor. This is His day, and you are His in it.
Love you, friend!
If you are looking for a quiet time/Bible study journal especially designed to help busy women to get plugged in to their true Power Source, you might enjoy The Warrior in the Mirror (also available as a digital download).